Mapping the Pathway for Travel and Tourism’s Return.

The last 18 months have brought devastation for a number of industries, but none more so than travel and tourism. With overseas travel completely disappearing almost overnight, little did we know it was just the beginning. A year and a half later as we claw our way back from the unprecedented lows, there’s finally some light shining at the end of the tunnel.

Four phase return strategy

Earlier this month Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a four part pathway, providing a strategy, albeit vague, towards normalisation. Headlining the conference were the travel and tourism industries and direct measures to be taken to ensure their return. We are currently in Phase One, being vaccinate, prepare and pilot.

Phase Two will be post-vaccination, once we’ve reached the yet to be determined threshold – minimising serious illness, hospitalisation and fatality. In this phase, lockdowns would become a very last resort.

Phase Three involves consolidation, no lockdowns. Vaccinated residents would be exempt from all domestic restrictions, and constraints would be removed for returning vaccinated travellers. Importantly, this phase would also include the extension of the travel and tourism bubble with countries such as Singapore, Pacific nations and potentially others.

Phase Four – the one we’re waiting for – return to normality. Within this phase, vaccinated travellers will be allowed to enter Australia without quarantining, with the restrictions also being removed for unvaccinated arrivals.

What it means is, Australia gets vaccinated, Australia is able to live differently.

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison

The timeline is directly correlated with vaccination rates, with finite dates and goals to be announced by the end of the month. The concept of trialling a 7-day home quarantine for vaccinated returning travellers was also raised which is a big step forward in the gateway for travel and tourism’s resurgence. A small-scale trial is set to take place in South Australia.

Alice Springs jumbo jet parking lot – photo credit @flighthacks

Although the planes are well and truly parked for now, the glimmer of their return is being placed at the forefront of government discussions. The heightened debate around travel and aviation and the monumental loss suffered, has been spurred on by the most recent NSW delta strain lockdown.

International borders however can’t remain shut forever and the world as we knew it will learn to live with Covid-19. Travel and tourism is lucrative in Australia – our largest services export industry. In 2019 tourism accounted for 3.1% of the national GDP, contributing $60.8 billion to the Australian economy. Tourism GDP in 2019 grew at a faster rate than the national economy. Of this, 26% came from international visitors to Australia while 74% came from domestic tourism.

SilverStar Mountain Resort, British Columbia, Canada

With a vaccination developed, and some countries approaching rates of 70% fully vaccinated, things are definitely looking up. There is a plan in place, a strategy being followed, and we all know far more about Covid-19 than we ever imagined. Awareness is key and education within the community is comprehensive.

It’s an exciting time to be part of travel. Never before has the industry been hit harder by a global event or pandemic, however the bounce back of global tourism will be monumental. And when it’s back on for Australia, it’s going to be better than ever.

So, where are you off to first?